They don’t let me out much, but last week I had to spend some time moving about the Rockies, followed by a couple of days in Minneapolis. It’s not a far distance from Denver, but the schedule still left me backed up with unread email. I know that’s everyone’s bane these days, and I don’t even know whether mine is worse than yours. However, I do know it is easy for me to fall behind. It occurred to me that, this being Memorial Day weekend, it might be a good time to review how we approach email requests. First and foremost, this is Food Safety News. Think about that entire statement before you contact us. We are not about just food. We are not about safety, even though I get a lot of nice mail from OSHA. We are interested when there is something going on that involves food and safety. If your company is introducing a new food offering, the only way it’s going to get into Food Safety News is by making someone sick. We do not recommend you take that approach. Many of these announcements come with offers to provide free samples, which can be very tempting. However, we will never ask you for free samples and strongly advise against sending them. Unless there is a bomb-sniffing dog around, packages not specifically ordered are sent directly to the burn unit. (I don’t know where that is, but it sounded good.) Likewise, if your food item is involved in some celebration or event, we are also not interested. As tempting as it was to participate last week in “National Taffy Day,” we had to take a pass. Generally speaking, if we are writing about your food product, it is unlikely you are going to feel much like celebrating. But that’s our job, and somebody has to do it. When sending us a written pitch, the important thing is to make the food safety argument first and foremost. If you have a new food safety product or service, we are probably not going to run it right away, but after we check it out. It’s often difficult or time-consuming to determine what one product or service might mean in the marketplace. You can always help us by educating us on your completion. Always feel free to send a press release to us a second time, with a note telling us what’s going on. I just thought it might be a good idea to share these thoughts with you before I go back to catching up with all that unread email. Using this little timeout to have this little chat makes me feel much better, and I hope it did something for you, too. Please enjoy your weekend, and remember that freedom is not free.